TIME Crime

Man Beheads Woman in New York Before Jumping in Front of Train

The man's body was found a mile away after he was struck by a train

A man beheaded a woman at her apartment in Long Island, N.Y. Tuesday night before jumping in front of a train, police and locals said.

The elderly woman was discovered dead outside an apartment building in Farmingdale, Nassau County at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nassau police said, according to the New York Post. The man had dragged her into the street and kicked her severed head about 20 feet.

“I looked through my window and saw the body down there,” neighbor Nick Gordon told the Post. “I saw the lady laying right in front and her head was across the street, close to the corner. I thought ‘holy sh–!’”

“There was blood all over the floor,” Gordon continued. “You can see smears going down the stairs… as if somebody were pulling a body.”

About 25 minutes later, the man was struck and killed by a Long Island Railroad train, and his body was found about a mile way from the crime scene in Farmingdale.

WNBC reported that investigators believe the woman was the man’s mother.

[New York Post]

TIME States

Missing Denver Broncos Fan Found Alive and Well

Denver Post—AP Paul Kitterman

Paul Kitterman was found Tuesday after he vanished during last week's Broncos game

A Denver Broncos fan who vanished at during last week’s game has been found about 90 miles away, police said Tuesday night. He was “unharmed” and no foul play is suspected.

Paul Kitterman, 53, was last seen leaving his seat at halftime as the Broncos played the San Diego Chargers on Thursday. His concerned family later filed a missing persons report. Denver police said Kitterman was found “unharmed” in Pueblo, Colorado.

NBC station KOAA reported that he was spotted wandering in a Kmart parking lot on Tuesday after police received a call from his ex-wife.

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME Disaster

Before and After: How East Coast Bounced Back After Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29, 2012 near Brigantine, N.J., cutting a swath through one of the most densely populated areas in the U.S.  Two years after the storm, a look back at how Sandy-ravaged areas fared in the 12 months afterwards.

TIME Law

Secret Service Prostitution Investigator Resigned Over Own Scandal

A new report found that David Nieland may have resigned in August after being implicated in an incident also involving prostitution

An investigator who led an internal review of the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal resigned in August because he had been implicated in an incident involving prostitution, according to a new report.

Officials said the investigator, David Nieland, was seen entering and leaving a building that was being monitored as part of a prostitution investigation, which was unrelated to the Secret Service scandal, the New York Times reported. When they interviewed the prostitute, she identified Nieland and said he had paid her for sex.

Nieland had cited health problems for his resignation, but officials said he stepped down after refusing to answer questions asked by a Department of Homeland Security official regarding his activities. Nieland denied the reports, stating to the New York Times in an e-mail that, “The allegation is not true.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said an investigation is underway.

[NYT]

TIME Video Games

Judge Dismisses Manuel Noriega’s Call of Duty Lawsuit

(L) Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega takes part in a news conference at the Atlapa center in Panama City on Oct. 11,1998.(R) The character Noriega claims was created in his likeness.
Alberto Lowe—Reuters; Activision/AP Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega (left) sues Activision over a portrayal of him in Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 game (right)

The former dictator of Panama sought damages for a character based on him

A California judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by former dictator Manual Noriega against a video game he claimed depicted him in a bad light.

Manuel Noriega, who ruled Panama for most of the 1980s, sought charges in July against video game publisher Activision, for creating a character based on him without permission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wall Street Journal reported. Noriega said the 2012 shooter game unlawfully depicted him “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” according to court documents.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William H. Fahey tossed the lawsuit on grounds that Noriega’s likeness was sufficiently “transformative”–meaning that its use was adopted for the sake of commentary or expression. Fahey also argued that the video game did not benefit from Noriega’s inclusion, as the former soldier and convicted drug trafficker had argued.

“The Court concludes that the marketability and economic value of the challenged work in this case comes not from Noriega, but from the creativity, skill and reputation of defendants,” Fahey wrote in court documents.

The dismissal was supported by former NYC major and Activision co-counsel Rudy Giuliani, who called Noriega’s claims “audacious,” as it touches on the issue of the many other video games and works of art that draw from and freely interpret historical or political figures.

“This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech,” said Rudy Giuliani. “This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.”

TIME National Security

U.S. Boosts National Security After Ottawa Shooting

Exact locations of increased security will not be disclosed

Security at U.S. government buildings around the nation will be boosted in the wake of violence that targeted government officials and federal establishments in Canada last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced Tuesday.

The presence of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) will be enhanced around several locations in Washington, D.C. and other major cities in the country, Johnson said in a statement. FPS protects more than 9,500 federal government buildings that are visited every day by some 1.4 million people, according to the Associated Press. The exact locations and actions will not be disclosed, as they are are sensitive to law-enforcement, but Johnson added that the security presence will be re-evaluated continuously.

The increased security is a precautionary measure to protect government personnel and facilities after a Canadian soldier was fatally shot in Ottawa just outside Parliament, Johnson said. The shooting is the latest crime linked to extremism that targeted government buildings or officials, following a hatchet attack last week on four New York Police Department officers.

“Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel,” Johnson said. “We urge state and local governments and their law enforcement personnel, along with critical infrastructure owners and operators, to be equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals.”

TIME Education

Campbell Brown Responds to TIME Cover

TIME

The founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice responds to Time’s “Rotten Apples” cover.

This is one part of a series of readers’ responses to this week’s cover.

The label and imagery of “Rotten Apples” at the front of the magazine has driven much of the debate about the article. That is a shame, because it has overshadowed the substantive reality explored in the piece.

We know the vast majority of teachers are committed, caring and conscientious. They are not rotten; they are the core of our success stories in public schools.

The real issue is covered in the body of the story itself, and in the victorious Vergara case on which the Time piece is based: tenure, dismissal and seniority laws that work to keep grossly ineffective teachers in class. The most telling anecdote came from the superintendent whose singular request to improve his schools was not more public money or supplies but “control over my workforce.”

Why? Because states with flawed teacher laws are doing the unfathomable. They are working against their own stated mission of teaching all children well. In New York, the courts have found that access to at least a sound, basic education is guaranteed by the state constitution – and yet state laws actually undermine that.

It happens because tenure is granted to teachers long before school leaders have a reasonable chance to determine if those teachers are effective. It happens because dismissal laws make it nearly impossible for schools to fire teachers deemed grossly ineffective or even dangerous. It happens because teachers are laid off based solely on their level of seniority, without regard to their quality.

That fact that it happens in a minority of cases still amounts to hundreds or thousands of children in a large district. And if it happens at all and we know about it, is that not a problem we should fix? Otherwise, what is the message sent to students who are taught by teachers who brazenly fail to lead or control their class, let alone inspire their students? Sorry kids, better luck next year?

Parents are turning to the courts as a last resort, as a matter of inspiration out of desperation. Years of legislative inaction and inertia inside school systems have offered no other choice. If elected leaders will not lead, parents are justified to question whether these laws causing such problems are even constitutional.

The Time article mentions the New York case supported by my organization, but unfortunately describes the litigation in shorthand, calling it my lawsuit. It is not. I use my platform as a former TV journalist to draw attention to the cause. But the case belongs to the families who serve as plaintiffs, and they do not do it casually. It is not easy to take on the state government and the teachers’ unions.

These parents are fighting because they want more good teachers in our schools. Turns out that, they, too, are trying to fix this. And they deserve our support.

In search of more perspectives on TIME’s cover?

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, responds here.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), Senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, responds here.

Christopher Ciampa, a teacher from Los Angeles, responds here.

Lily Eskelsen García, President of the National Education Association, responds here.

Courtney Brousseau, a high school senior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., responds here.

Billy Easton, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education, responds here.

Gary Bloom, former Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent, responds here.

Educators from the Badass Teachers Association respond here.

Stuart Chaifetz, a New Jersey parent, responds here.

TIME Law

Report: FBI Created Fake News Article With Spyware to Track Suspect

FBI Director Robert Muller Speaks About Bureau Reforms
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The Federal Bureau of Investigation seal is shown at the FBI Headquarters July 26, 2006 in Washington, DC.

The FBI maintains that its fake news article was justified

The FBI created a fake Seattle Times article containing surveillance software in order to track a school bomb-threat suspect in 2007, according to documents obtained by an advocacy group.

The controversy was publicized Monday evening on Twitter by Christopher Soghoian, a technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, who linked to the FBI documents (pages 61-62) obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization. While the FBI’s use of data gathering software in this investigation was reported in 2007 by WIRED, which acquired an FBI affidavit seeking a search warrant for the tool’s use, the latest documents reveal for the first time the FBI’s use of a false news article.

According to the documents, the link to the article was “in the style of the Seattle Times” and used a false Associated Press byline. The article, titled “Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department,” was mocked up with subscriber and advertising information.

The link was then e-mailed to the to the MySpace account of the suspect, who police believe was responsible for a series of bomb threats at Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash. When clicked on, the link would deploy FBI software to track his location and computer IP address.

“We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best in a statement Monday evening.

AP’s Director of Media Relations Paul Colford also criticized the FBI’s actions, writing in a statement that, “We are extremely concerned and find it unacceptable that the FBI misappropriated the name of The Associated Press and published a false story attributed to AP. This ploy violated AP’s name and undermined AP’s credibility.”

The FBI in Seattle maintains that its technique was justified in locating the suspect, who was arrested on June 14, 2007, two days after the dateline that appeared on the agents’ e-mail correspondence discussing the plan.

“Every effort we made in this investigation had the goal of preventing a tragic event like what happened at Marysville and Seattle Pacific University,” Frank Montoya Jr., an FBI agent overseeing its Seattle operations, told the Seattle Times. “We identified a specific subject of an investigation and used a technique that we deemed would be effective in preventing a possible act of violence in a school setting.”

A spokeswoman for FBI’s Seattle unit also defended the strategy to the Seattle Times, arguing that the FBI did not use a “real Seattle Times article, but material generated by the FBI in styles common in reporting and online media.”

TIME White House

Joe Biden, Top Obama Officials Get Cheap Family Vacations at Federal Log Cabin

Interior Department launches investigation after TIME inquiries

Correction appended Oct. 29

Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snowcapped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park.

The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Under a policy adopted in 1992, after controversy over VIPs using the cabin for vacations, the National Park Service banned purely recreational activities by federal employees at the property, restricting its use to “official purposes.” But in recent years, the park service has interpreted that same rule so broadly as to again allow senior officials to take cheap vacations in Grand Teton with friends and family.

While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter’s question about where he spent the night. Last week, after TIME uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden’s office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for “renting the Brinkerhoff” for his family’s vacation.

Under park service rules, the lodge is maintained for use by federal employees for “training and official conferences” and for those on “temporary duty in the park.” In practice, the superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, who has discretion over whether to demand payment for the lodge, has interpreted those rules to allow extended family vacations if there is an element of official business involved.

A Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman, Jackie Skaggs, said last week the Biden family visit met the internal criteria, since the Vice President received an official park briefing and tour while staying at the lodge. “With few, if any, exceptions, officials who stay at the Brinkerhoff are given in-depth briefings and/or issue tours,” she wrote in an email to TIME.

But that explanation may not stand. In response to further questions from TIME, the Interior Department said Tuesday that it was launching an investigation into how the park service has managed the Brinkerhoff. “In light of inconsistencies in billing practices and ambiguity in the policy at the park, the Interior Department has directed the National Park Service to conduct an immediate review of compliance with the policy and related recordkeeping and to seek reimbursement, where appropriate, for use of the Brinkerhoff,” wrote National Park Service spokeswoman April Slayton in an email to TIME.

A Favorite Vacation Spot

Biden is not the only senior member of the Obama Administration who has taken advantage of the Brinkerhoff in recent years for family vacations or getaways with friends. Records obtained by TIME through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least four cabinet-level officials, a deputy White House chief of staff and the director of the Park Service have made use of the lodge with friends and family since 2011.

  • Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson stayed three nights in 2011 with her husband, and five other people, including a person listed as a friend. She received a tour of a new air quality monitoring station, according to a park official.
  • Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled there in 2012 for eight nights with his wife, his daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, two other adults and his son, Illinois State Sen. Darin LaHood. He attended the Department of Transportation grant award event, according to LaHood’s office.
  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan stayed there for six nights with his wife and children in 2013. He attended a nearby roundtable with tribal leaders and an event at a local school, according to the Department of Education.
  • Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, who oversaw the National Park Service, stayed there with his family for three nights in 2011. His office did not return a call about the purpose of his visit.
  • Former White House Special Advisor Phil Schiliro also used the lodge for one night in August of 2011 with his wife and one other person. The White House did not return emails about the purpose of his visit.
  • National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, his wife, his son and his son’s girlfriend stayed for five days in August of 2012. The park service said he had official business on two of the five days. ” The director took personal time during the remaining days,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Under federal policy, family members may accompany government employees who travel on official business. “Family members’ travel costs and incidental expenses are not typically reimbursed by the federal government, although they may stay in the accommodations reserved for the traveling employee, as long as any additional costs incurred as a result of the stay are covered by personal funds,” wrote National Park Service spokeswoman Slayton.

Confusion Over The Rules

The offices of several officials who stayed at Brinkerhoff, including the Vice President, Duncan and LaHood, said there was initial confusion over their need to pay for extended stays at the lodge with family members.

Under National Park Service policy, “a bill of collection will be prepared” for those who visit the Brinkerhoff on “project related travel that will be billed to another entity.” The Freedom of Information Act request returned no documents showing that any bills had been issued. The park service also produced no records of official stays at the Brinkerhoff between 2000 and 2010.

A spokesperson for the Vice President, who declined to be named, said Biden’s office was still waiting for an invoice from the park two months after the stay, when TIME made inquiries. “The office understood from the park service that personal use would cost the local per diem rate,” the spokesperson said, referring to the a schedule of overnight hotel costs maintained by the General Services Administration for a single hotel room. Biden’s office said the Vice President will now personally pay $1,200 for the four nights, a figure that includes an extra $10 per night for each additional member of his family.

That cost, which assumes that a four-bedroom lodge is comparable to a single hotel room, is far below market rate for other nearby accommodations, especially during peak summer tourism season. At the nearby Jackson Lake Lodge, a two-bedroom cabin that sleeps four without a view of the lake, averages $250 a night in August. Nearby homes outside the park can rent for more than $1,000 per night during the summer.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education says the park service “never conveyed” to Duncan that he would have to pay for the non-official portion of his family’s nearly week-long stay. “Secretary Duncan requested an invoice for his family’s stay and will reimburse the park fully for the time he was on personal leave,” the official said.

A spokesperson for LaHood, who is now a policy adviser at a law firm, said he made a donation to the park at the time of around $250 after consulting with Salazar. LaHood has since asked the park if he is obligated to pay more.

With the exception of a $150 check from Salazar, the park service has no record of any payment from other officials for their stays, though Skaggs said charges are sometimes directly billed to other government offices and that the park doesn’t maintain records of those transactions.

There is evidence, however, that the park service is now trying to improve its management of the Brinkerhoff, at least on the public relations front. After being contacted by TIME, a computer with an IP address registered to the National Park Service made alterations to the Wikipedia page for the Brinkerhoff Lodge.

A phrase describing the property as a “vacation lodge” was changed to “historic lodge.” A phrase noting the Brinkerhoff’s history as a destination for “VIP housing” was deleted.

A Controversial History

Located on the banks of Jackson Lake with views of the glacier-strewn peak of Mount Moran, the Brinkerhoff Lodge was built in 1947 by the family of Zachary Brinkerhoff, a prominent Wyoming oil company executive. It features a two-story living room, a full-length deck, Western-style chandeliers and interior walls lined with log or knotty pine paneling.

After it was acquired by the National Park Service in the 1950s, the lodge became one of several “VIP” properties across the country, which were used by presidents, members of Congress and government bureaucrats. The park service curtailed their use following public outcry in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “The Secretary has concluded that the public interest will be better served by having the four existing VIP accommodations used only for official purposes,” reads a memorandum by former Parks Service director James M. Ridenour, which remains in effect. “As of February 10, 1992, these sites will no longer be available as VIP accommodations.”

All but the Brinkerhoff were eventually converted to other uses. The Bodie Island Cottage, a three-bedroom lodge that sleeps 11 just off the beach below the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, was turned into a ranger station. Little Cinnamon House in Virgin Islands National Park, where former President Jimmy Carter stayed for nearly two weeks after his 1980 electoral defeat, was turned into employee housing, and “is currently in disrepair and uninhabited” according to park service officials. Camp Hoover in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, once a favorite of members of Congress with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was converted to a museum in 1996.

The park service maintains that it is cheaper for the federal government to house officials at the Brinkerhoff on official travel because it costs less than nearby hotels.

“Historic structures are better maintained when they are actively used and the park has determined that seasonal use of the Brinkerhoff will better protect this valuable historic facility,” Skaggs said. “By allowing officials and governmental employees access to occasional overnight stays in the Brinkerhoff, the park is able to fund the long-term maintenance of this historic structure.”

She added that the fees, when collected from stays at the Brinkerhoff, are earmarked for preserving the building.

Read next: Sources: Hunter Biden Leaves Navy After Drug Test

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly identified Phil Schiliro’s former title. He was an assistant to the President and special advisor.

TIME justice

Ferguson Cop Skips Sixth Court Date, Letting Suspect Walk Free

Activists March In Ferguson On Nat'l Day Of Action Against Police Brutality
Scott Olson—Getty Images Demonstrators project a wanted poster with a picture of Police Officer Darren Wilson on a wall near the pollice station in Ferguson, Missouri.

Officer Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, has refused to turn up to numerous court dates while on paid administrative leave

The Ferguson police officer who shot dead an unarmed teenager there in August failed to appear in a Missouri court Monday for the hearing of a man he arrested on felony drug charges, forcing the judge to let the suspect walk free.

The ruling to dismiss the case marks the sixth time Officer Darren Wilson’s absence from court has resulted in a dismissal, a county attorney told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Attorneys for the defendant, Christopher A. Brooks, said Wilson could not be compelled to appear in court so long as he was on paid administrative leave from the police force.

Darren Wilson has remained in hiding since Brown’s shooting in August prompted weeks of angry demonstration in Ferguson, Miss., with many calling for Wilson’s arrest for murder.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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